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Police arrest asylum seekers as new laws take effect

With stricter border laws taking effect as of midnight last night, more police were going to the Serbian border and they have begun arresting refugees there, according to reports. Hungary “will stop the influx of illegal immigrants”, government spokesperson Zoltán Kovács said at a press conference in the early hours of this morning. 

Police guard a group of refugees near the Serbian border today. The refugees face charges of illegal entry into the country. (Photo: Zoltán Máthé)

According to index.hu, police increased their presence at the border just before midnight last night. They began to arrest refugees today, according to MTI.

Under the new laws, the Hungarian government has the authority to declare a state of emergency, and both Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and ruling Fidesz Caucus Leader Antal Rogán said this declaration could come today.

Following the introduction of the new laws today, Hungary has, once again, made international headlines overnight.

Kovács said that “the official and legal ways of entering Hungary, and thereby the European Union, remain open,” but all the Hungarian government asks is for “all migrants” to “comply with international and European laws”.

Under the new laws, those who are caught in the course of an “illegal border crossing” will not be entitled to apply for asylum and will instead face a prison sentence or immediate deportation from the country, according to reports.

An “illegal border crossing” is apparently defined as a crossing in which a person enters Hungary through the wire fence on the Hungarian-Serbian border or breaches the fence in some way, rather than entering through the gates of the fence, where they can be registered and an asylum procedure can be initiated.